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If you’re considering enrolling your student into a private high school, you will also want to make sure that he or she will be learning the things they need to be learning in order to be successful after high school and beyond. So how can you evaluate the strength and quality of a private high school’s curriculum? Below are some key things to consider.

What Does the School Believe About Students’ Ability to Learn?

At the core of a high-quality curriculum is a belief that all students are able to learn and are capable of being successful. A high-quality curriculum is one centered on high expectations of students, because they believe in their students, no matter their background. The private high school you are looking at should have its core beliefs about student learning on its website or in the school’s mission statement.

What Kind of Teachers Does the School Hire?

Another key ingredient to a high-quality curriculum is high-quality teachers, evidenced by their degrees and their certifications. For example, most private schools value teachers who have degrees in their chosen subject, and approximately 60 to 80% of private school teachers will have an advanced degree as well. A teacher’s knowledge of the field in which he or she teaches is paramount to their ability to teach. Additionally, are the teachers at the school-certified to teach? Luckily, most schools require their teachers to be licensed to teach, and this is true of private schools as well.

Is the Learning Material Suitable for the 21st Century?

We have come a long way in terms of technological and scientific advancement, and this is no less true than for education as well. A critical component of a high-quality curriculum is whether or not it focuses on critical thinking and communication skills that are suitable for the rapid advances and globalized nature of the 21st century. A 21st-century curriculum should consist of learning activities that foster creativity, flexibility, communication with diverse groups of people and individuals, and out-of-the-box thinking that can be applied to complex 21st-century problems.

Does the School Offer Quality Enrichment Programs?

After-school enrichment programs are another key ingredient in a school’s overall curriculum standards. Enrichment programs are important because they provide a well-rounded education that inspires students to invest in their hobbies, while also honing important skills. A quality private high school should offer an array of enrichment programming that will help your teen be their best self.

What Is the School’s Culture?

Finally, a quality curriculum helps to cultivate an environment of belonging, safety, and inclusivity for everyone. The culture of a school greatly impacts students’ intellectual and character development. Key questions to ask include:

Do students and teachers feel safe?

How are learning expectations communicated to students?

Do the teachers, administrators, students, and parents respect one another?

These are just a few questions you can ask to determine the culture of a school.

Picking a private high school for your child is an extremely important decision, and learning how to evaluate a school’s curriculum is paramount to that decision.

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